Defense and Security

Babangida, others arrested for financing Boko Haram insurgency


In what seems to be a nationwide crackdown on individuals suspected to be financiers and collaborators of Boko Haram and other armed groups in Nigeria, dozens of persons have been arrested.

According to a report by Daily Trust, the ongoing inter-agency crackdown is being led by a top intelligence officer, with an army general leading a task team comprising military personnel and staff from intelligence services.

The operation is said to be coordinated by the Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA), in collaboration with the Department of State Services (DSS), Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

It is also reported that billions of naira traced to business accounts belonging to persons of interest have been blocked in banks in series of “post no debit” letters sent out to banks by the CBN and NFIU.

Sources told the publication that a list of 957 names mainly bureau de change operators, gold miners and sellers, as well as other businessmen, is being acted upon; and so far, 400 persons have been arrested.

These arrests were said to have been made in Kano, Borno, Abuja, Lagos, Sokoto, Adamawa, Kaduna and Zamfara.

In Kano, it was learnt that BDC operators at the foreign exchange open market in Wapa, Fagge Local Government, were arrested on March 9, 15th and 16th.

Those arrested in Kano include:

Baba Usaini,

Abubakar Yellow (Amfani),

Yusuf Ali Yusuf (Babangida),

Ibrahim Shani, Auwal Fagge, and

Muhammad Lawan Sani, a gold digger.

It was gathered that those arrested are being kept in military and DSS facilities in Abuja and other places, even as their families and lawyers decry the continued detention of the suspects without trial or informing them of their offences. Family member noted that the suspects were not allowed to contact their families.

One official involved in the operation who anonymously spoke to Daily Trust said the operation has recorded immense success with the arrest of key persons with “direct” link to bandits and insurgents.

“The main person coordinating the funding ring for Boko Haram is in our custody, he and his closest ally in the business,” he said.

According to the source, about 19 BDCs owned by persons with “direct connection with Boko Haram” were uncovered, while over N300 billion was found to have been pumped into the funding of terrorism in the country.

The source disclosed that from one person in Borno State and another in Zaria, Kaduna State, over N50 billion were traced in funding to the armed groups.

“A number of those arrested have divulged vital information including operational details of bandits and Boko Haram insurgents. But they are being kept to aid further arrests,” he said.

According to him, not all the affected businessmen arrested were members of the criminal gangs but many of them were involved in it as a business.

As the operation which begun last year continues to intensify, the CBN is said to have actively supported the clampdown by freezing suspicious accounts.

While the NFIU has hinted that the operation is strictly a military affair, the DSS and Nigeria Army have denied knowledge of the matter.

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